What We Are

The First Ward Visual and Historical Arts Center is a non- profit, dedicated to function as a working gallery for residential artists, as well as a educational and historical resource for the first ward

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Houston was settled by Pirates.

A Conversation with Kenneth Brown, The contracted archeologist for Elder Street Artist lofts and surrounding area.:By Esther Gutstein 

He shows me a picture of three "black earth graves" *unearthed  next to the Elder Street Artist Lofts parking lot.

" I had talked to the contractors that were working on pouring concrete for the parking lot. I said that I would need at least a month to study the graves." "I came back to the site A week later, and found that they had been paved over."

He shows me a picture of pieces of blue and white pottery. 
"From the black earth graves, there was found a few pieces of pottery. A photograph of two of the rehenish ware sherds recovered. These were found within the fill of one of the Black Earth Graves. This ceramic type was imported by British colonists in north America. But is not represented in Spanish or French colonies."

He estimates at least 40 black earth graves lie in that vicinity. 

He was also contracted to excavate an area near the fire department adjacent to the Lofts.  

This projection was the area involved in the construction of a triangular communication tower. "We only could excavate what the pillars of the tower were going to hit"

They found a linear deposit. Erosional filled. Open for a while  at some point in history. (This was found in the northern support for the communications tower) 

Fascinated by this discovery, he did some research. He found that there was a cholera epidemic in the 1860's. "I thought, maybe this is the "lost trench."
"Lost Trench?"I asked
"There was a cholera Epidemic that caused many deaths." He went on " So many in fact, that they stopped having proper burials for victims of the Epidemic, and just started throwing them in mass graves." There are historical hints that a trench was dug, but all traces of the whereabouts have vanished."

They dug a ten foot wide trench using a small buck hoe to determine the features depth and made a startling discovery. The trench was not used for the cholera epidemic;t was used for something that would change history as we know it in Houston.

The trench they found was an exact replica of what would be found outside of an English residence in the 1600's. A small moat, with a wooden palisade raised gun platform defensive system.

 "if that is what is found in the front of the house, then where is the house?" I asked
"What we found is only the front of the house.  Concrete from the parking lot covers where the house would have been."Our contract was up, so the only thing that we could do at that point, in order to solve this mystery..."
He continues,

"Is to go to the source, and get on a plane to England."

So Dr. Brown and his team went to England.

One of their goals was to find weather or not English colonies had settled in Houston; by going strait to the source.

He found a few little details that have been overlooked by scholars.
These details, explained a history already partially founded by artifacts found in the area. 

Dr. Brown, found a old map in a book depicting the land of  English to America colonies dating back to the 1600's.
The book tells a story of the king starting settlements in Caroliana. (yes that is how it is spelled.) 

Caroliana was East of the Mississippi, and west of New Mexico.

Dr. Brown found several other pieces of information;
In 1664 the Spanish observed a strange site. They saw four English ships carrying families and animals,(obviously not war ships) headed West, past Florida. 

Dr. Brown also found a court document dating back to King Charles. He was selling some of his land in America. In the documents he stated that he could not give any land east of the Mississippi, because he had a settlement there.

A letter from a gold merchant in new Mexico to a Spanish trade merchant Stated that they needed to find another way to transport gold.He said  "It keeps getting stolen At the Rio De Santa Spirito by the English."
Dr. Brown shows me a map of Spanish settlements in Texas. 
"Anything look familiar? "
I point to Rio De Santa Spirito on the map."That's Buffalo Bayou."

The Theory, 
The King attempted English colony during 1660/1630’s They were set up to be pirates, and attack Spanish shipping. They were also an extension of the English Navy. 

Archeological evidence for the existence of the 1632-1650 English Privateer colony:

1.Rhenish Ware and other English ceramics from the early – mid 1600’s
2.Black earth graves with Christian burial attributes and the presence of badly decomposed human bones with burials.
3. Moats, with a wooden palisade raised gun platform defensive system identical to the mid 1600ps English colonial defensive systems from Ireland to north America. The site exactly matches that called for by the Virginia company.

*Black earth graves were graves used in England, and brought over to America in the 1600's by English settlers. The name indicates the soil that was used, making the ground around the body black in color, while also aiding to the decomposition of the deceased.